In Depp vs. Heard trial, Johnny’s sincerity was genuine and the jury felt it
The long-awaited verdict in the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial is in, and the “Pirates of the Caribean” star has cause to celebrate.
In Virginia Wednesday, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Depp on all three counts in his high-profile celebrity defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp claimed that his former wife defamed him in an op-ed published in the Washington Post, wherein Heard referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
JOHNNY DEPP WINS DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST AMBER HEARD
Although the op-ed did not mention Depp by name, he contended that the piece clearly implicated him as a domestic abuser.
Amber Heard listening to the jury verdict in her ex-husband’s defamation claim against her.
Depp claimed that this “defamation by implication” caused significant harm to his personal and professional reputation.
The jury agreed, awarding Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages. However, because punitive damages in Virginia are capped at $350,000, the total award to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star is $10.35 million.
From a legal standpoint, the verdict is significant in that public figures, such as celebrities, athletes and the like, are held to a higher burden of proof when bringing a defamation claim.
JOHNNY DEPP AND AMBER HEARD ISSUE STATEMENTS FOLLOWING THE JURY’S VERDICT
Depp, as a high-profile celebrity, was required to prove that Heard acted intentionally and with malice when she penned her op-ed. The jury found that Depp indeed met this more stringent legal standard.
There was some small consolation for Heard – the jury found in her favor on one of her three counterclaims, awarding $2 million based upon a comment made by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman to the Daily Mail.
Johnny Depp waves to supporters as he departs the Fairfax County Courthouse Friday, May 27, 2022, in Virginia.
(AP Photo/Craig Hudson)
The jury rejected Heard’s other counter claims and refused to award her punitive damages. The counterclaim award to Heard will be offset against Depp’s $10.35 million recovery, leaving Heard with a judgment against her for $8.35 million.
If you have followed my coverage of this trial, you know that I predicted a victory for Depp early on. Despite the heightened burden of proof the actor was faced with, I believed he would prevail.
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It was evident to me from the beginning that Depp appeared genuine and truthful while relaying very difficult memories.
The actor came across as sincere and honest when he testified about the impact of being falsely labeled a domestic abuser.
I reckoned that if I picked up on Depp’s sincerity just through the television, the jury certainly had to pick up on this as well, while hearing his testimony in person.
Additionally, Depp’s attorneys did a very effective job of putting compelling facts and expert witness testimony before the jury.
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The actor’s witnesses went a long way toward bolstering Depp’s position and supporting his version of events.
By sharp contrast, the case presented by Heard seemed contrived and less compelling.
Heard’s story was rife with inconsistencies and lacked credibility. Similarly, the testimony presented by Heard’s witnesses did little to advance her narrative.
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At the end of the day, the jury seemingly believed Depp and dismissed much of Heard’s testimony.
Although Depp walks away with a significant money verdict against his former spouse, the real prize here is vindication – having a jury of seven declare that Heard acted with malicious intent when she falsely labeled Depp a domestic abuser.
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